Streams

Keeping 'Success' in a Success Academy School

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 04:12 PM

There was almost no "success" at the new Upper West Side charter school opened this year by Eva Moskowitz, the former city councilwoman.

At least not in the name.

Ms. Moskowitz has nine charter schools around the city, each named for their location and the Success Charter Network, of which they are a part. There are five Harlem Success Academies, two Bronx Success Academy, and one Brooklyn Success Academy.

For its first charter school on the Upper West Side, the network settled on a name: the Upper West Success Academy Charter School. The network papered the neighborhood with glossy fliers and direct mailings with the name, seeking to overcome organized community opposition to its presence. It submitted the name for approval to the Board of Regents in Albany, which officially votes on such things.

But when the name came before a Board of Regents committee for an initial vote on Monday, it was incorrect on the item read out loud for the vote and published online for days before. It said Upper West Side Charter School. No 'success.'

Jenny Sedlis, the director of external affairs for the charter network, said Tuesday the name approved by the committee was "clearly a mistake."

"The school's name is the Upper West Success Academy Charter School," she said in an e-mail message.

On Tuesday, the Board of Regents voted as a whole to grant the name change-- but which name? At first, state officials said a staff member had made a typo in the item, but that it was fixed in time for the final vote. So "Upper West Success" was rescued.

Then, officials acknowledged that the typo had not actually been fixed, but said that it didn't matter, because the item had referenced an earlier vote that had been done with the correct name. Later, officials said that if necessary, additional language could be added to avert confusion. Finally, a spokesman said that the Board would take formal action to clarify.

"There will be an erratum in the minutes of the Regents meeting that the Regents will approve next month," said Tom Dunn, a state education spokesman.

In other words, success is back.

Now everyone will know, just from the name, what the school is aiming for. And the flyers don't have to be changed. "That's great!" Ms. Sedlis said in a follow-up e-mail. "Thanks for catching!"


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